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Top 10 NUIC Sports Stories of 2016

2016 will be go down in the history books as the year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. I am a White Sox fan, however, I was happy for my long suffering friends and family who are Cub fans.

Here is my top ten NUIC sports stories for 2016.

1. Forreston Football: The team went 14-0 on its way to a 1A State championship. It’s the second title in three years for the Cardinals and coach Denny Diduch.

2. Dakota Wrestling: The team won its fourth straight 1A State championship for Dakota/Orangeville co-op coach Pete Alber. The trio of Greg Krulas, Nate Olsen and Alec Henze also won their second straight individual State titles and a team title all four years.

3. Eastland Volleyball: The team was runner-up for a State title under new coach Mallory Clements.

4. Ric Arand: Lena-Winslow long time football coach Ric Arand was chosen to be inducted into the Illinois Coaching Hall of Fame. Arand led the Panthers to a pair of State championships.

5. Andrew Wenger: The senior wrestler at Dakota won the elite Dvorak 170 pound championship on Dec. 23. He was a State runner-up at the 1A State individual. Wenger also was an all-state linebacker in football and all-conference first team as a running back and linebacker.

6. Rebecca Waite: The Milledgeville athlete finished second in the 100 meters and fourth in the 200 at the State finals.

7. Carmen DeVries: The Lena-Winslow track star finished third in the 400 meters and sixth in the long jump in the State track meet.

8. Freeport Aquin Baseball: The team lost 3-2 in the Super Sectional.

9. Pearl City Softball: The team lost in the Super Sectional.

10. Galena Basketball: The team lost in the Super Sectional with all-state player Katie Furlong who also was a volleyball standout.

Also this year: Former standout NUIC athletes are in the midst of excellent college seasons.

Sophie Brunner who was a state championship in basketball at Aquin is a junior forward on 14th ranked Arizona State. Brunner, was named ESPN women basketball player of the week.

Josh Alber and Brett Benning are college sophomores from Dakota. Alber, is a four time State wrestling champion and the state’s only unbeaten wrestler in history. He is 8-2 on the season for Northern Iowa heading into a New Years tournament.

Benning has played a key role off the bench for Augustana College basketball team who is 8-3 going into their next game New Year’s Eve.

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